Updated: Jul 4
I prefer to say I focus on strength training rather than "personal training." I like the emphasis on strength. Strength is a master quality. What is personal training? Who knows. Whatever you want it to be, I suppose. People in spandex sweating on a treadmill shooting the breeze with the "trainer" while he or she browses Facebook? Maybe.
But what if you want more cardio? Or to lose weight? Or to gain muscle mass (hypertrophy, not the same as strength...I've written about it elsewhere).
Strength, like so many other abstract nouns, is a bit wiggly and harder to pin down than you might think. Maybe its just how much weight you can lift overhead. Maybe it is, but I can tell you that if you have fallen arches in your feet, you aren't lifting as much as you could; you lack strength. Maybe you want to run an obstacle course, but you slouch so much your head lives entirely in front of your body. Do you really think your breathing is optimal?
Posture is strength. Proper breathing is strength. Proper bracing is strength...
Strength is a skill. It isn't just how much muscle you have. Olympic lifters weighing 130 lbs. can outlift the 250 pound ox at your local gym. And you can look on youtube for the video of the world olympic ring champion effortlessly shaming an amateur arm wrestler twice his size. Strength isn't just about the quantity of muscle you have, nor even the quality, if that's what you're thinking.
Strength is about electricity; its about delivering more nerve impulse to your muscles so they contract harder, allowing well trained little guys to vastly outlift big guys who just chase size.
And strength is about mechanical optimizing. Its about learning the skill of how to properly stiffen your torso and brace under a weight, how not to put your knees at a disadvantageous position that will result in breaking down the cartilage before you've even hit middle age. Strength is a skill.
And in getting strong, you'll build muscle. If you need even more muscle than you get pursuing strength, than your training and diet can be tweaked to reflect that, but be strong first.
And in getting strong, you'll lose fat. Strength training does not put as much a burden upon your metabolic or nervous systems as does training for size or chasing high intensity for its own sake, so after a session, you won't have the rebound effect where you feel like you need to go eat bowls of never ending pasta at the crummy chain Italian restaurant. If you want to lose even more fat than what you're losing with strength training, then we can tweak your programming and diet as well, but be strong first.
And in getting strong, you'll be able to pursue your endurance endeavors. How are you to run with your bad form and forward head and broken down feet? Address those areas first, or at least concurrently with your endurance training, and then lift some heavy things so every beat of your feet gets you further. Be strong first.
Now of course there are outliers. There are people who are so morbidly obese that they cannot possibly pursue any kind of physical regimen until they have substantially reduced their body fat. I definitely can advise on that, but you may also wish to see a dedicated nutritionist. My sole advice on choosing a nutritionist is to not trust anybody who "puts you on a diet." If somebody wants you to temporarily change things so you can lose a few pounds, they are not acting in your best interest. To lose weight safely and permanently, you must reform your eating habits entirely. You must eat less overall while eating more of what is healthful. Anything less than that and you will simply regain your fat with interest when you relapse. If you want to know what is healthful, email me and we shall have that discussion, but first go read what I require from my clients.